Jesse Jarnow

martin dressler

A particularly lovely fantasia from Stephen Millhauser’s Martin Dressler:

While taking note of the unusual living arrangements, and ignoring conventional features such as lobbies, cafeterias, and a very efficient laundry service, many observers preferred to comment on the large amount of space devoted to services and entertainments not generally associated with hotels: the many parks and ponds and gardens, including the Pleasure Park with its artificial moonlight checkering the paths, its mechanical nightingales singing in the branches, its melancholy lagoon and ruined summerhouse; the Haunted Grotto, in which ghosts floated out from behind shadowy stalactites and fluttered toward visitors in a darkness illuminated by lanternlight; the Moorish Bazaar, composed of winding dusty lanes, sales clerks dressed as Arabs and trained in the art of bargaining, and a maze of stalls that sold everything from copper basins to live chickens…


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